PM Lee meets Turkish President Erdogan ahead of G-20 summit

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong meeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Antalya yesterday. With them are (from left) Civil Service head Peter Ong, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin (right).
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong meeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Antalya yesterday. With them are (from left) Civil Service head Peter Ong, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin (right).ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

ANTALYA (Turkey) - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday, and affirmed growing ties between their two countries.

They also noted that the joint declaration on a strategic partnership - signed last year - serves as a "compass to strengthen ties", Mr Lee's press secretary Chang Li Lin told reporters.

Under the declaration, both countries had agreed to step up contacts in a range of areas such as defence and counter-terrorism cooperation, as well as economic and people-to-people links.

Both leaders met in October last year, on Mr Lee's first official trip to Turkey. Mr Erdogan had, in January 2014, also visited Singapore as Turkey's then-Prime Minister.

At the bilateral meeting, Mr Lee thanked Mr Erdogan for his invitation to attend the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit and G-20 meetings, said Ms Chang. The Leaders' Summit begins today.

Singapore is not a member of the G-20, but has been invited to attend this year's summit as one of six guest nations.

In a sign of growing ties, Singapore this year appointed Ambassador A. Selvarajah as its first resident ambassador to Ankara.

Mr Lee also thanked Turkey for its support in Singapore's successful bid to have the Singapore Botanic Gardens inscribed as a Unesco World Heritage site.

Singapore will be participating in the Antalya Horticultural Expo next year, Ms Chang added.

 

Both leaders on Saturday also witnessed the signing of the Turkey-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and Turkey's Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci.

"Both President Erdogan and PM Lee welcomed the signing of the FTA and expressed hope for its speedy ratification," Ms Chang said.

"The FTA will strengthen the respective positions of Singapore and Turkey as gateways to larger markets such as Europe and Asean."